Steven W. Collins
Clarifies the scientific, political, economic, and ethical dimensions of new genetic technologies. Explores the tension between biotechnology as a source of economic opportunity and as a potential threat to the environment and human freedom, and the role of government in promoting and regulating science and technology to resolve this tension.
1. How new genetic knowledge is being applied in agriculture, medicine, and other fields. 2. How the science underpinning biotechnology emerged and evolved. 3. How to assess the ethical and policy issues associated with the application of genetic technologies in reproductive medicine, genetic testing, and genetic modification of humans, plants, and animals. 4. The history and characteristics the biotechnology industry.
Student learning goals
General method of instruction
Lecture and small group discussion. A field trip to a local biotechnology company is possible.
There are no prerequisites. Some coursework in basic biology and ethics would be helpful.
Class assignments and grading
Two or three short essays (about 750 words each). One problem set. One report on a local biotechnology company (consisting of a 3-page executive summary and supporting materials). Comprehensive final exam. In-class participation.
Performance on above assignments.